Every month, the members of the Magpies Trust meet at Victory Park and have their chance to vote on matters and ask questions directly to senior figures at the club & trust. Here's your questions answered for April 2023:
Q: Is Chorley FC in financial trouble?
GW: Not in ‘dire’ trouble; usual tough situation with crowds down,which has hit other things like food and drink. Sales are down and inflation means everything costs more.
Q: Is Chorley FC about to be sold?
GW: Yes, a takeover is in progress. We want the club to go to someone with the best interests of the club and its fans at heart.
Q: Gary Flitcroft said this club was a ‘sleeping giant’. It has has gone to sleep again and needs more investment.
GW: Agreed. A couple of people were interested before the Covid pandemic, but neither materialised. Another interested party wanted to be the new owner – plus the manager! The current group involved in engineering and shop-fitting, chains and franchises etc. Also have a big interest in motorsport. Some of the group have interests in football. Ken and I have been talking to them for about 6 months, but just in the last week or two has become a proper offer. They do want to run the club properly.
Q: Does the Magpies Trust shareholding change?
GW: No – the Trust’s share remains the same. Only mine and Ken’s shares are being sold. The group are keen to work with the Trust.
Q: Are we talking to the council? About the ground, etc.?
GW: Yes, but there is more work to do if the takeover goes ahead.
Q: Are they looking to buy the ground?
GW: Yes, they want to take over the lot. They want a 3G pitch, which will generate income.
Q: Do we have a timescale for the takeover?
GW: Could be in the next couple of weeks. There are just a few things left to iron out. Won’t see much change this season. The ambition is for the club to get to the National League.
Q: Does the group have links to Chorley?
GW: No. They did look at another North West club but that didn't go ahead as that club had underlying issues.
Q: How will they make the club sustainable and what is the long-term vision?
GW: I’ve already touched on the investment in a 3G pitch, getting to the National League and owning the ground. The capacity for teams to increase – and starting to look at a girls’ team.
Q: What is the situation with players’ contracts?
GW: Some have already signed up: Jack Sampson, Scott Wilson, Matt Urwin and Joe Nolan. Recruitment is in progress and we have been talking to potential new players.
Q: Has the club’s financial situation got better or worse?
GW: It is steady.
Q: Any plans with regard to Connor Hall loss through injury?
GW: We are looking to bring Louis Britton back.
Q: Do you have an update regarding injuries?
GW: We can’t get to the bottom of the situation re: Matt Challoner. Will Tomlinson just about ready to return. Callum Schorah coming back. Harvey Smith – had stitches and won’t be playing this weekend. Connor Hall – dislocated shoulder and collar bone and awaiting assessment.
Q: What is needed for the season to be considered a ‘success’? Play-offs? Promotion? Will it be a ‘bad season’ if we don’t go up?
GW: I would be disappointed if we don’t at least make the play-offs.
Q: If we go up will we learn from the last promotion?
GW: Yes, we have learned from the last promotion and have changed or will change some things, like printing match programmes - and overnight stays and moving more towards becoming full-time, which we have already started to do.
Q: What is your view on new non-league club player contract rules?
GW: Not impressed. I don’t think it will work. They are trying to move things towards more ‘common’ types of contracts.
Q: Why's is the club losing so much money?
GW: As already mentioned – there has been a dramatic drop in attendances and the problems of rising inflation.
Q: Are Early Bird Season Tickets going OK?
GW: Yes. I’m not sure of exact numbers but most have renewed.
Q: How critical will the relationship with Chorley Council be to the group?
GW: Very important. If the council doesn’t want to develop VP as a football ground – prepared to move the club elsewhere. There are no negatives either way – can either develop VP or go elsewhere.
Q: Would the new group willing to have a meeting like this one, to talk with supporters.
JV: Trust will push new owners to involve fans.
Q: Are Ken and Graham planning to stay on?
GW: I would like to see Ken Wright stay on as Life President of the club. The new owners will need a club secretary and I will put my nameforward.
Q: Do we plan to bring another player of Harry Cardwells’quality in?
GW: We could only afford Harry Cardwell because of his injuries history. Another good striker, Charles Vernam, wanted to stay but was recalled by his club.
Q: Could we have a marquee for drinks outside at high attendance matches – like the pre-season friendly against Bolton?
GW: We are looking at having a Fan Zone near where the Trust cabin is.